A BAN on plastic straws will take effect beginning July 1 in all eateries in Selangor.
The state government is imposing the ban with the aim of eliminating single-use plastics, which pollute the seas and endanger marine life.
State Environment, Green Technology and Consumer Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian said Selangor would prohibit eateries from habitually providing customers with single-use plastic drinking straws.
“We will instruct all eateries, be they restaurants or neighbourhood coffeeshops to stop providing plastic straws with every drink.
“They must also not put straws on tables for customers to take freely.
“But the eatery is allowed to give a plastic straw to a customer upon request,” he said after visiting the Taman Greenwood Ramadan bazaar in Batu Caves.
Hee said the state was taking a tough stance to protect the environment.
Hee (second from right) with MPS acting president Datuk Juhari Ahmad visiting a Ramadan bazaar stall in Batu Caves.
“Our aim is to change people’s habit of using plastic drinking straws.
“We hope that before they get up from their seat to ask for a straw, they will think about the litter and destruction caused by these straws to marine life.
“Outlets found ignoring the ban and continuing to automatically give straws with drinks after July 1 will be issued a gentle reminder by the respective local councils.”
He said changing people’s mindset and behaviour was a gradual process but the state was determined to start now by using this approach to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic products.
“Single-use plastics offer convenience but have terrible consequences.
“We are glad that people have become used to bringing their recyclable or cloth bags when they go shopping and some even use biodegradable bags for their groceries,” he added.
Hee also urged people to bring tiffin carriers with them if they plan to take away their meals.
Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) councillor Anfaal Saari said many restaurants had begun to phase out single-use plastic straws on their own initiative.
“People have begun to understand the negative impact of non-biodegradable plastic straws, so they willingly forgo straws altogether,” she said.
Anfall called on the public to adopt a sustainable and green practice for a better planet.
A Petaling Jaya Coffeeshop Association spokesman said most of their members had switched to paper straws.
Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association president T. Muthusamy said the association’s members were supportive of the move.
He noted that there was a trend of customers bringing their own metal straws.
Malaysia Singapore Coffeeshop Proprietors General Association president Datuk Ho Su Mong said most coffeeshop operators had stopped providing plastic straws.
“We find a lot of people are aware of the need to stop using plastic straws,” he said.
Malaysia will fully enforce a nationwide ban on plastic straws by next year.